(Michael Zahara) – Regular readers here know that I don’t do anything to hide my disdain for Speaker Barbara Buckley and Majority Leader Steven Horsford who completely blew the 2009 session and refused to lead.
We heard Buckley telling us she couldn’t do anything and we listened to incessant ‘does it make sense’ lectures to us; we watched Horsford cower to the special interests he is welded at the hip to and who own his every move, literally trembling with fear while in session.
So instead of doing what needed to be done, they parked things in yet another study and will now have to close the current budget gap and he, but not she, will have to tackle 3 billion more in the 2011 session and do reapportionment.
For the hundreds of thousands of wasted dollars spent in 2008 to defeat Bob Beers and Joe Heck, Democrats now have no one to share the blame with and Governor Gibbons, who is a dolt, has beaten back the legislature’s power grabs at every turn and he controls the agenda during special sessions!
After the last session, I told you the governor would wait until the very last minute to call them back into special session again for its political advantage-primary filing just days away-and that proved correct though some of you didn’t believe me then.
Imagine if Gibbons had his current team from the get go; he would be easily re-elected in 2010. He will still pull in the 20’s because there is always value in keeping your word to voters; Steven Horsford and Barbara Buckley didn’t keep a single promise to their voters; so who then are the real dolts?
Democrats are looking at losing at least one state Senate seat now and probably two Assembly seats are gone too. The brief moment of majority wasn’t used correctly when they should have just rammed things through if they really believed their own bullshit.
Not only did they not believe it, they are terrified of the uber-consultants and mega-law/lobbying firms who both manage Nevada politics on both sides and cuddle up to its industries at the same time, presenting clear and distinct conflicts of interest that no one chooses to address either.
I mean seriously, would Rogich and the R&R’s of the state really be able to defeat everyone with no back bench in either party?
So, you have to ask Horsford and Buckley a few questions now about what they didn’t do then:
Nevada remains today the lowest taxed gaming locale in the entire world. They can’t pay more when times are good, or when times are bad! For all of Gaming’s rape and pillaging of our entire state, instead of paying even the national average in gaming taxes, they fired the all of change girls, the cocktail girls, thousands of other staffers and went off on a spending spree buying each other up and then begging again for special tax and lending treatment!
I have never spoken to a voter who doesn’t want much higher Gaming taxes before anyone or anything else is taxed here.
Where were Horsford and Buckley on this?
Then take Mining which is an important industry in the state that has never paid anywhere near what the value of what they steal from our states soils, yet silly groups like PLAN propose increasing their tax rate, rather than doing the simplest maneuver which would be removing all of mining’s bought and paid for deductions first and which requires no ballot initiatives or changing of the constitution!
Of the 63, none of them would even consider taking on both industries and where were Buckley and Horsford on this in 2009?
The Republicans do have some good points, however, they wear the shame of having one of Nevada’s worst governors in Kenny Guinn who is almost singularly responsible for the fiscal mess Nevada is in today. Despite their hot rhetoric, exactly what programs were they ever able to cut here?
His gross expansion of higher education here without the fundamentals in place to pay for it has left our state in fiscal ruins. This expansion required hundreds of millions of continuing dollars to bring all of these new programs and degree offerings to maturity and no one then thought the good times would ever end and now we have to cut them back substantially this session and next.
The good times are over here for at least the next decade folks.
Our students are still paying far below the national average for tuition, so of course they should be paying much more and of course the Millennium Scholarship program has to end immediately in tough fiscal times.
Have you ever wondered why legitimate private liberal arts colleges don’t inhabit our state? They’re not here because the state’s Education Industrial Complex doesn’t want them here because that would mean competition and they are dead set against that!
But maybe a Brigham Young, or USC, or Pepperdine, or Loyola, or Stanford would consider buying NSC for a brick and mortar presence here. Nevada State College is the whitest of white elephants for Nevada students and taxpayers alike.
No one can ever answer why UNLV doesn’t even graduate half of its students but programs and offerings just keep on growing and growing at obscene rates. Scores of tenured professors never actually teach but chase grant money to do ‘research’ here, in Nevada of all states!
Research? Here? Other states laugh at us; gee, thanks Kenny!
They’re still full speed ahead to build a North Las Vegas campus of UNLV when they fail to graduate even half of their students!
And they want more money for education?
No one can ever answer why the Clark County School District barely places 50% of its taxpayer take into the classroom either? Where does that other 48% go?
Nevada State Education Association is so stupid that they gave up their right to strike in ‘at-will’, ‘right-to-work’ Nevada and the schools’ administration will take their cuts out on the teachers; that’s how messed up this state is! My aunt taught in the district for 34 years and I had no idea how messed up the schools and their union was until I saw it with my own eyes; and they want more of my money?
Are you f-ing kidding me?
One of the top questions I get here is why we bus so many kids when we have thousands of 200 pound 5th graders who should be walking to school and why are we’re feeding them twice a day now and doing their medical check ups too?
Our readers’ basic gist is that if their parents can’t feed them and get them to school on time, shouldn’t we be thinking about placing them in foster care?
Good questions all and both the higher education system and the K-12’s keeping expanding these programs and hiring more administrators to manage them because they’re chasing federal dollars most times and once they’re started they become scared cows almost impossible to kill off and end permanently.
I get so many questions about PERS excesses, $200,000 per year firefighters, gross abuses of Metro’s call-out pay and why taxpayers are paying police officers’ dry cleaning bills too!
Did you even know you’re paying for police officers’ dry cleaning?
Another avenue is to look at the scores and scores of Boards and Commissions in this state that are nothing more than patronage dumping grounds; yes, some pay for themselves, but seriously, do we really need a state ‘Bicycle Advisory Board’ or the state involved in taxi cabs?
Check out these gross excesses that no one will touch:
Terrific questions all that need to be answered before anyone picks my pocket or yours and threatens cutting seniors’ diapers and closing state parks for their emotional impact so they don’t have to address these very valid questions.
All of this and much, much more should have been handled in the 2009 session but Barbara and Steven chose not to lead and to bow instead to their special interest owners before their own voters.
They could have cut all of Nevada’s corporate welfare, introduced much higher gaming taxes, stripped mining of their deductions, added the sale of the country’s 2 multi-state lottery games, added internet sales taxes as other states did years ago, finally charge gaming for their own state over-site, seized every dime of Oscar’s Mob Welfare Fund commonly known as the LV Redevelopment Agency…the list goes on and on and on!
And how you do it is ask for way more than you’re going to get and negotiate downward.
It’s Negotiation 101 that no one knows how, or cares to know how, to do here.
The Republicans this special session should just sit on their hands and not participate as repayment for Beers and Heck in 2008; if I were a Republican during the special session, I would just be sloshing coffee and reading the paper the whole time, wouldn’t you? Those who sign off on Democrats’ protection rackets they will try to pass will lose their upcoming primaries, so it all depends on the term limited ones who should extract very painful demands for their support, shouldn’t they?
But in 2011, when all members in both parties are at their freest and leadership is at its weakest—no one on the Dem side will follow either Horsford or Oceguera for very long because they are so weak—is when the GOP should sign off on some things that make fiscal sense for the state with one very big caveat:
No new programs or expansion of any programs for 10 years!
It’s going to take us no less than ten years to crawl out of our state’s recession and we will be the last to recover of all of the 50 states.
We need to repair the damage Governor Kenny Guinn and his successive legislatures did to our state’s bottom-line and then we have to hope things don’t get any worse for Nevada over the next ten years of recovering from what these bastards did to our state.
But some people in both parties are going to have to grow a set and lead; that was never going to be Barbara Buckley who proved herself a phony and it certainly isn’t going to be Steven Horsford either.
The upcoming special session will be spit and bandages as per usual and we’ll just have to wait and see what the 2011 session brings!
If I were Steven Horsford, I would probably throw the game and give the 2011 Senate back to the GOP given how exceptionally poor an idea holding all of the chips now turned out to be.
I told them so, many, many times; they just didn’t choose to listen and now the 2010 Dem ticket will suffer because of it.
(Mr. Zahara is a longtime Democrat activist and publisher of the WatchdogWag.com blog)